Longitudinal Mental Health Outcomes of Third-year Medical Students Rotating Through the Wards During COVID-19

Emma R. Stanislawski, Alexandra Saali, Elizabeth B. Magill, Rischa Deshpande, Vedika Kumar, Chi Chan, Alicia Hurtado, Dennis S. Charney, Jonathan Ripp, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated third year medical students’ psychological well-being during clinical rotations at Mount Sinai hospitals in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. All students (n = 147) starting rotations (psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics-gynecology, neurology, pediatrics, and medicine) could participate in quarterly, online, anonymous surveys comprised of validated screeners for: psychological symptoms, risk, coping, and protective factors, demographics, COVID-19 worries, and stressful clerkship-related events. Associations between variables were examined with Chi-squared, Fisher's exact, t-, Wilcoxon Rank Sum, one-way ANOVA, and McNemar tests. Significant univariate predictors of psychological distress were included in stepwise multivariable linear regression models. The baseline survey was completed by 110 (74.8%) students; ninety-two (62.6%) completed at least one other survey. During the year, 68 (73.9%) students screened positive for depression, anxiety, or PTSD. The prevalence of psychiatric symptoms peaked in June 2020 without significant changes in average scores over time. COVID-19 worries decreased over time but did not influence psychological symptoms at year-end. Eighty-three students (90.2%) experienced stressful clerkship-related events, which were traumatic and/or COVID-19-related for 26 (28.3%) and 22 students (24.0%), respectively. Baseline psychological distress, childhood emotional abuse, and resilience predicted depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD by year-end. This study highlights the importance of recognizing psychological distress and implementing interventions to support students’ well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115030
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume320
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Coronavirus
  • Depression
  • Medical education
  • Ptsd
  • Resilience

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